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Overtaking on the Right: Can it Be Justified?

With the complex set of lane designations that some California cities establish, it can be difficult to tell where overtaking on the right is allowable. Most of the related citations are given on highways that are either two-lane or have special considerations.

How to Justify Overtaking on the Right

In a state like California that has slow and fast lane divisions, overtaking another vehicle in a right-hand lane can be risky. To justify overtaking on the right, one thing must always be present—pavement. In places where passing on the right is allowable, there will be enough pavement and signs posted to allow overtaking on the right. Since slower vehicles must travel in the right-most lanes, it should be rare that a faster driver would have to overtake on the right, but unfortunately, the driving public does not seem to like to follow this rule. This type of maneuver is most often necessary on highways that only have two lanes and frequent left-turning traffic.

CA Vehicle Codes (CVC) 21750-21760

These codes outline the rules for drivers overtaking another vehicle on the right side. These codes explicitly say that overtaking another vehicle should preferably be done on the left and that slower drivers should yield to oncoming traffic when left-hand passing is necessary.

Under no circumstances should a driver attempt to overtake another vehicle on the right if it cannot be done safely. This means adequate pavement space to do so, and nothing like a street intersection, bridge, or pedestrian crosswalk or bike path is present. Full speed passing on the right is never permitted unless you have your own lane. Also, overtaking on the right should never be attempted with a school or mass transit bus. This severely endangers the lives of people entering and exiting these vehicles.

Barstow, San Bernardino County, CA

This area of California has a variety of roadways that create many different situations with many truckers coming into the area from Nevada there are slower and faster vehicles interacting. It is always better to drive defensively and cautiously. Convictions for overtaking on the right violations are steep and can be a detriment to your driving privileges.

Improper and unsafe passing on the right can garner a fine of $230-250 for a first offense. It will also mean at least one DMV assessed NOTS points on your driver’s license. This type of citation can be issued for all right-hand violations that involve passenger buses, animals, bikes and pedestrians, and unsafe geographic features. Right hand passing fines of up to $490-500 can be compounded if the action is taken while an emergency vehicle is present, or other right-of-way conditions exist. In contrast, slower vehicles not yielding to others attempting to overtake them in a lawful manner could earn a $230-250 fine and license points as well. Justifying overtaking on the right is difficult when so many safety factors exist, but at times may be prudent for safety.

In short, it is advisable to forgo passing on the right side of the road in most conditions. Emergencies can change this, but passing actions on California roadways should be limited to the left lanes in most circumstances.

Hire a Traffic Lawyer

Although overtaking on the right is normally unsafe, it can at times be justified. If you believe you were justified in overtaking another vehicle on the right but were ticketed, contact Bigger & Harman. In Barstow and other areas of San Bernardino County, Bigger & Harman represent clients in traffic court as traffic ticket attorneys.

Call Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300 for a free, no obligation phone consultation or email: attorney@markbigger.com when you have been ticketed for passing on the right or another traffic violation and you have questions about whether to pay the fine or fight the ticket.

They can provide straightforward legal counsel and advice without the legal jargon. You can use their website contact form 24 hours a day.

Read their Nolo.com write up or read what others are saying on Yelp about the service they received from Bigger & Harman, the Central Valley traffic attorney team.

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